Chris Cooks

My First Crack at Italian Wedding Soup – Success

December 5, 2013  —  Written by Chris 

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Before marrying Jules, I had never heard of Italian Wedding Soup. Julia’s mom is full Italian, and there’s a lot of heritage that comes along with that. Honestly I feel like I won the lottery when I married into Julia’s family, but that’s off topic. This post is about soup. And darn good soup.

It’s been really cold here the past few weeks, and below zero the past couple days. Jules has been craving Italian Wedding Soup for awhile now, so I decided to take a crack at it. Yes, this was my first time making it, but using some things I’ve learned in my cooking days, I would say it was a total success. Here’s what you need for my version:

For the Meatballs:
• 1/2 lb ground pork
• 1/4 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese
• 1/4 cup bread crumbs
• 1 egg yolk
• 2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
• 1 tsp fennel seeds, smashed up really well in a mortar and pestle or something
• 1 tsp garlic powder
• 2 pinches salt
• 3 pinches fresh ground pepper

Mix all this stuff together by hand until it’s incorporated well. Don’t over mix it, though, otherwise it’ll turn into dog food. You want the pork to still have texture. Once it’s mixed, just set it aside. And start making the soup.

For the Soup:
• 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1 medium sweet Vidalia onion, chopped
• 1 large carrot, sliced
• 1 stalk celery, chopped
• 2 tsp dried dill
• 1 bay leaf
• 2 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
• 2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
• 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
• 7 cups chicken stock
• 2 cups water
• 1/4 cup acini de pepe (small pearl pasta)
• 2 cups chopped kale
• Salt to taste

Warm the olive oil in a pot and sauté the onions for a minute. Careful not to burn the oil. Add the carrot, celery, dill and bay leaf. Saute for about 2 minutes. Add the fresh herbs (oregano, thyme, parsley) and sauté for another minute. Add the chicken stock and water, bring to a simmer and reduce heat to medium-low. Grab the pork mixture and start making little meatballs. You want them to be small enough to fit on a soup spoon. Drop them into the simmering liquid as you make them. Let them cook for 2-3 minutes after you get the last one in, then add the acini de pepe. Simmer for 10 minutes and add the kale. Taste and add more salt as needed.

Most versions I’ve seen are made with spinach and ground chicken, but I prefer the texture/taste of ground pork and kale. This soup is warm and comforting, but doesn’t sit heavy in the stomach. The classic onion/carrot/celery combo reminds me of my childhood, even though it’s a soup I never had as a child. Serve with warm, crusty bread and you’re all set.

So have you had Italian Wedding Soup? How did you like it? Was there something special about the version you had? As always, I’d love the deets. And if you haven’t had Italian Wedding Soup, maybe give this one a try. I’m sure it will at least help keep you warm this winter. Cheers, friends.

What do you think?

  1. Easy Italian Recipes says:

    Hi! Your Italian wedding soup has been nominated as one of the “Best Italian Wedding Soup Recipes on the Net”. To vote for it, please visit http://easyitalianrecipes.org/soup-recipes/best-italian-wedding-soup-recipes-on-the-net-vote-for-your-favorite/ (your recipe is positioned at #46).

  2. Made this last night. Really delicious!! (even though I didn’t have fresh herbs) I always make homemade chicken stock and it makes all the difference. I’ve found that one of the of the best food “investments” is a whole chicken, usually just .89 or .99 a pound here. One bird makes one-to-two entrees… and then I use the carcass to make a huge amount of stock that I then freeze for stuff like this. I buy one almost every week! In a pinch, I buy a pre-cooked “rotisserie” chicken.

  3. jOoLz says:

    I make mine with chicken meatballs and spinach, and whatever small pasta floats my boat on any given day. I’ve got a grip of chicken stock left from the batch I made for Thanksgiving, and I’ve been meaning to make it for about a week now. Thanks for the kick in the pants!

    Mylena? The Italian name for this soup is minestra maritata. Married soup. Not wedding. Anyway, it’s something to do with how good meatballs and greens go together. A good marriage. If you know you’re going to freeze some of it, remove whatever portion you’re going to save before the pasta goes in and you should be good to go. Then, when you heat up your leftovers, add your pasta. Recooking the pasta will make it all mushy and that’s never good.

    Sorry to pipe up Chris, but I just love this soup! :)

    • Are you kidding? I LOVE pieces of information like that! I had no idea that’s how it got its name. Thanks so much for sharing and jump in any time! And great tip with keeping the pasta out if you’re going to freeze. Thanks so much for contributing!

    • Finally cruised back by and saw your reply, Chris. I love sharing food stories and recipes. Cooking seems to intimidate so many people, and if I can help someone get over that fear just a little? It makes me feel really good.

      Love your approach to food, cooking, and equipment. I’ll be sure to swing by again soon. :)

    • lol. I’m jOoLz, btw.

      Have a Merry Christmas!

  4. Love the idea of Italian Wedding Soup … Even in our current 75-degree days herein NC ;)
    I would like to make many, many of your recipes but have one small request given that Julia is gluten-free, right? I too cannot tolerate gluten-containing products, but am relatively new to this diet since March 2013. Would you be able to post substitutes that you use in order to make these recipes consumable by your family? I would be so very grateful!

    • Hi Elizabeth! Julia actually isn’t gluten-free anymore. At least not right now. Her doctors have been monitoring her thyroid and they told her to just eat whatever she can, which for the first few months was mostly gluten (toast, bagels, English muffins etc). That said, most of my recipes are very easy to turn gluten-free. This soup, for example, just needs the bread crumbs in the meatballs replaced with gluten-free panko, and the acini de pepe replaced with small, gluten-free pasta. Even really small gluten-free shell pasta or macaroni would work great. But I’ll try to include more substitutions in my posts.

      Thanks Elizabeth!

  5. Yum!
    Also, I would love to hear more about how Julia is doing… I hope the hyperemesis is settling down? I have it too and just hope it is improving or at least treatable for her :) sorry for the rando comment on the food post! Thinking of you guys!
    Amy

    • Hi Amy! Jules is doing so much better, thank you for asking. She’s almost back to feeling normal. At least as normal as a woman with a child growing inside of her can feel. She only feels nauseated maybe once or twice a week, and she almost never throws up anymore. Which we are so happy about and grateful for. :)

  6. Mylena says:

    That sounds very yummy and do-able, so yup, I’ll give it a try! Any idea if it freezes well Chris? And I’m curious, why is it called Italian Wedding Soup?

  7. I’ve always been intimidated by Italian Wedding Soup. Your version seems approachable, so maybe it’ll be like Chicken & Dumplings and actually be something I can accomplish!

  8. This sounds delicious! My office is freezing so I could really go for some soup right now! :)

  9. Linda says:

    Thanks for this! I first had Italian wedding soup when I moved to Pittsburgh (where I was lucky and blessed enough to have Julia’s dad for a bishop and her mom and the family for great friends!). Pittsburgh as you know is a very European, Catholic city (read: lots of Italians) and it was great to go to family owned restaurants and taste their versions of the soup. It is the perfect thing on a cold, frosty day! Thanks for the recipe and how to, now I can make my own…well, yours! ;-)

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